United States unemployment rate falls to 3.9 percent as hiring slows

US jobs growth slows more than expected in July

American job growth falls short of expectations in July

Friday's report from the Labor Department shows the jobless rate fell one-tenth of a percent to 3.9 percent, one of the lowest figures in years.

At this stage in a record stretch of job growth that began in 2010, however, all eyes are on wages because they've been much slower to recover from the Great Recession.

The overall unemployment rate inched down to 3.9 percent from 4 percent the month before, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported.

Total nonfarm payrolls increased by 157,000 for the month, below the 190,000 expected in a Reuters survey of economists and the lowest gain since March. That is the result of the Toys R Us bankruptcy, economists said. July's slowdown in hiring reflected a loss of 10,800 education services jobs.

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Gapen said he's optimistic that wage gains will pick up, ending the year at about a 3 percent increase. "@POTUS is keeping his promise to restore our economy and put Americans back to work", said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in an August 3 tweet.

As The New York Times noted, average hourly earnings also saw an uptick of seven cents. Economists' maintain that wages will rise as economy drains remaining slack from the labor market and businesses' pay more to retain workers. "For the second consecutive month, the unemployment rate for Hispanics reached a record low", the statement added. Retail payrolls rebounded by 7,100 jobs last month after losing 20,200 in June.

Employment gains remained strong in manufacturing and other tradeable goods industries, while all of the job growth slowdown in July occurred in the service-producing industries that have less exposure to trade.

There have also been concerns that the trade tensions could dampen business confidence and lead companies to shelve spending and hiring plans.

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"While this increased employment is undoubtedly good news, job growth exacerbates the monumental manufacturing workforce shortage", she said. In June, there was a surge in the number of people re-entering the labor force, while the number of those who gave up on their job searches fell.

The participation rate, or share of working-age people in jobs or actively looking, was unchanged at 62.9 percent. That is the fewest in 11 years and means part-time workers are getting more hours.

The employment-population ratio, another broad measure of labor-market health, rose to 60.5 percent, the highest since early 2009, from 60.4 percent.

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